“Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.” -Wendell Berry
Although owning conservation land is a legacy in itself, pioneer conservationists paved the way for legacies as we know them. In addition to Aldo Leopold, another particular legacy is Wendell Berry.
Berry is most famous for his value of nature and writings about living a simple life. He wrote stories emphasizing an agrarian lifestyle. To celebrate his August birthday, we are delighted to share the following piece. We picked our favorite quotes; read the entire article here.
Author Credit: Jayber Crow
In the last 50 years or so, Wendell Berry’s name has become almost synonymous with a sort of simple, agrarian lifestyle.
A great activist, writer and thinker, Berry has written dozens of stories, poems, essays and novels.
He also is a farmer and a Christian who has challenged the Church to take environmental issues seriously.
In today’s hectic, consumeristic world, there is much we can learn from Berry’s commitment to simple living, good stewardship and value of nature.
Today, to celebrate his 80th birthday, we’ve gathered some of his best pieces of wisdom:
On Sacred Space
“There are no unsacred places; there are only sacred places and desecrated places.”
On Knowing Which Way to Go
“It may be that when we no longer know which way to go that we have come to our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.”
On How to Approach Every Day
“So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute … Give your approval to all you cannot understand … Ask the questions that have no answers. Put your faith in two inches of humus that will build under the trees every thousand years … Laugh. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts … Practice resurrection.”
― The Country of Marriage
On Nature’s Memory
“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”
― Endorsement statement for The Dying of the Trees
When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound…
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
—“The Peace of Wild Things”
On Understanding Your Past
“If you don’t know where you’re from, you’ll have a hard time saying where you’re going.”
On the Fear of the Unknown
“Always in the big woods when you leave familiar ground and step off alone into a new place there will be, along with the feelings of curiosity and excitement, a little nagging of dread. It is the ancient fear of the Unknown, and it is your first bond with the wilderness you are going into.”
“The teachers are everywhere. What is wanted is a learner.”
— What Are People For?